(LOS ANGELES – Aug. 29, 2011) – More than 2.32 million Southern Californians are expected to take a Labor Day vacation this year – a 2.6 percent decrease from last year’s 2.38 million travelers, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
The expected decline will be among all forms of transportation except car trips. The number of Southern Californians expected to drive to their destinations will actually go up slightly to 1.89 million compared to 1.88 million who traveled by car last year.
The number of Southland travelers by plane is expected to decline by 1.6 percent to 282,000. Travelers by all other modes – bus, train, motor home and cruise ship – are expected to decline to 144,000 from 216,000 last year.
“We are seeing some travelers choosing to take a shorter vacation or opting to drive,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “Because fewer travelers are flying or taking cruises, there are an increased number of significant bargains for popular destinations such as Hawaii. In addition to reduced prices, some travel providers are offering incentives such as upgrades, activity vouchers and even complimentary airfare.”
Statewide, 3.74 million travelers are expected to get away this holiday weekend – also a 2.6 percent decrease. Of those, 3.05 million will drive, which is a 0.9 percent increase from last year, and 454,000 will fly, which is a 1.6 percent decrease. About 231,000 are expected to go by other modes of travel.
More than 31.5 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Thursday and Monday. That’s a 2.4 percent decrease from last year’s 32.3 million travelers.
The top destinations for local Labor Day travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club’s AAA Travel agents, are:
1) San Diego
2) Las Vegas
3) Central Coast (Santa Barbara to Monterey)
4) San Francisco
5) Grand Canyon
Gas prices will be higher this holiday weekend than during any other Labor Day weekend except 2008, when Southland travelers were paying $3.80 to $3.90 a gallon on average. Current gas prices are just a few cents below that record level for Labor Day.
Labor Day vacationers traveling by car can save money on gas with the following Auto Club tips:
- Before leaving, make sure the vehicle tires are filled to the proper pressure. Measure pressure when the tires are cold. The correct tire pressure can usually be found on a sticker inside the driver’s car door.
- Try to time your trip to reduce the likelihood of running into traffic congestion, which wastes gas.
- When stopping for meals on the road, skip the drive-through and go inside the restaurant to minimize fuel-wasting idling. More than about two minutes of idling wastes more fuel than turning off and then restarting the car.
- Pack light and take heavy items you’re not using on vacation out of the car. Every extra 100 pounds of weight in a vehicle reduces fuel economy by two percent.
- Use a smartphone app like the free AAA TripTik Mobile to plan out your stops for gasoline at less expensive locations. The TripTik Mobile app lists prices for 100,000 stations around the U.S.